PUBLIC PROFILE: Sally Mackler, Board President, SNYP Clinic
Serving the region, the newly open SNYP Clinic in Talent, is exactly what its letters stand for: spay and neutering pets. We caught up the nonprofit’s Board president, Sally Mackler, to find out how the clinic came about—and the scope of the problem they hope to, well, neuter.
Rogue Valley Messenger: This month marks one month since the opening of the SNYP Clinic. Can you provide some numbers about what has been accomplished—and how that impacts the community?
Sally Mackler: We have done 2,858 surgeries in slightly less than a year since our opening; 2398 or 84 percent have been cats, 469 or 16 percent dogs.
Of the cat surgeries, 1257 have been females. The impact of stopping these cats from ‘littering’ is huge. Considering that each female and her offspring can conservatively produce 24 kittens in one year: a maximum total of 30,168 unwanted kittens may have been prevented from being born. Even if 50 percent survived, we’re looking at over 15,000 kittens. That is year one only! Had 15,000 kittens been born, half would be female and each of them could produce 24 kittens. That represents a tremendous amount of suffering that has been prevented and we are very proud of that, not to mention the reduced strain on our shelters and rescue organizations.
RVM: Roll back the clock a year or two, and tell us what was it that brought the clinic about? What need was recognized and how did people come together?
SM: Veterinary offices had generously provided reduced cost spay neuter surgeries to the community through SNYP programs up until a couple of years ago. At that point, the demand for veterinary services increased dramatically and offices could no longer participate on our programs. The need for spay and neuter was only increasing as our access to supply dwindled. We had to either walk away or open our own clinic and provide needed spay neuter services ourselves. We got advice, support and, encouragement from existing spay neuter clinics; and our own community here rose to the occasion and helped us raise the startup funds we needed to take the leap and open the doors.
RVM: If you could travel back in time one year, is there any advice you’d give for managing the clinic?
SM: Finding the right staff and keeping channels of communication open are essential. Keep an open mind and be flexible because the learning curve is always there.
RVM: Any changes we should expect in the upcoming year?
SM: We hope to grow and be able to increase our number of surgeries. Our ultimate goal is to minimize the suffering caused by the number one source of it all: overpopulation.
RVM: February is National Spay/Neuter Awareness Month. What activities are happening in the region?
SM: We continue to provide the lowest cost possible for spay neuter surgeries. As long as we have the funds we will continue to reduce that cost to those who qualify for low income assistance.
RVM: Feral cats seems to be a particularly acute problem. Perhaps this is a simply question, but first can you explain the scope of the problem and then also explain how cats end up feral? Is there a common “back story”?
SM: The scope of the problem has been explained by looking at the number of kittens just one female cat can produce. When you couple that with irresponsible caretakers that results in feral cats. A feral cat is not just a stray cat, it is a cat who is unsocialized and cannot be handled. That can happen and does happen to any cat left behind or left to roam freely. Rental properties, apartment complexes, mobile home parks are hot beds of feral cat colonies many of which could be easily prevented if the rental agency required Spay and Neuter proof of tenants with pets. Many require vaccines, indoor only cats etc. but that is not an effective solution or deterrent to the problem. People move, people die, cats are allowed outdoors and from just one come many more and more and more.
RVM: What advice can you give about being a responsible pet owner?
SM: Have your pet neutered asap. It is kitty breeding season now! Cats breed before most people anticipate: by 16 weeks! Kittens can be neutered as young as 8 – 10 weeks. The most important veterinary visit is to get your pet fixed. Not only will it prevent suffering; it will save money, keep your pet safer and healthier, free from cancer and prevent urine spraying and other undesirable/dangerous behaviors like roaming, fighting. Fixed pets make you better neighbors.